The financial support available to hauliers affected by the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London will now include small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

The decision by the mayor to increase the scope of the scrappage scheme ahead of the zone’s expansion on 29 August from firms with fewer than 10 staff followed concerns that more people and businesses needed support.

Sadiq Khan also said he would introduce a new grace period for sole traders, microbusinesses, small businesses and registered charities who have ordered compliant vehicles but are having to wait for them to arrive past the ULZ’s expansion date.

The mayor launched a £110m scrappage scheme for non-compliant vehicles in January, but he said the eligibility criteria was now being widened.

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Khan said: “The majority of vehicles in London are already ULEZ compliant and will not have to pay anything. But I completely understand the concerns of people who may not have a compliant vehicle and are worried about how they’ll make the transition.

“Expanding the ULEZ was an incredibly difficult decision for me,” he added. “But with toxic air damaging the health of millions of Londoners and the need to tackle the climate crisis, I believe the cost of inaction would simply be far too high a price to pay.”

Michelle Gardner, Logistics UK deputy policy director said the announcement was welcome news for logistics firms working in the capital: “Logistics UK and its members support the Mayor’s commitment to improving the quality of the air we breathe, but have been concerned about the cost of switching to compliant vehicles at a time of high inflation.

“Logistics businesses deliver everything London’s workers and residents need every day, and today’s news will provide reassurance that they can seek additional support to replace non-compliant vehicles.”